I’ve said it many times before, that if there was one player on the Montreal Canadiens I wanted to play like, it would have been Ralph Backstrom.
How could I not want to be like Backstrom? A minor hockey sensation in his hometown of Kirkland Lake, he captained the Hull-Ottawa Canadiens to a Memorial Cup win, and was considered the top junior in the whole country. In his debut season with the Canadiens, he was rookie of the year, and he ended up winning six Stanley Cups.
He also had a really pretty wife and sported a short hair style I tried to get my barber to copy on my head.
I knew in my heart I would never be a Rocket or Beliveau, so Backstrom was the one I watched closely and tried to mirror in style. He wasn’t big but he was lightning fast, and I wasn’t big and sort of fast. I would crouch to take face offs just the way he did when he lined up against Keon and Mikita and the others, and I knew that any day the scouts would knock on my door because I reminded them of Ralph Backstrom.
But it never happened and I don’t understand it. I thought I was doing everything right.